Work it, make it, do it, Makes us harder, better, faster, stronger! While I’m told this line is part of the lyrics to a popular Kanye West song (and for the time being I’ll pretend to know who that is), more importantly it seems to be the anthem for smartphones around the world…that is if smartphones could rap I suppose.
Joking aside, according to industry analysts 2012 will likely be the year the smartphone will indeed get significantly better, faster, and stronger as it looks like the popular handheld computing platform is set to receive the much anticipated mobile quad-core processor.
Although this year’s CES didn’t show much in the way of quad-core smartphones, many are looking to next month’s Mobile World Congress to be the real unveiling for the next generation of smartphone processors. In fact, thanks to an over abundance of leaks and inside source material, it seems that the coming of the quad-core smartphone is imminent, and its arrival will mean big changes for what your smartphone can do and how fast it can do it.
If you’re at all familiar with computing parlance I don’t need to explain to you what quad-core means but for those who aren’t, simply put instead of having one or two processing units (in the case of single and dual-core phones respectively) the handset’s CPU will contain four distinct cores for dividing up and completing tasks.
Although the benefits to such improvements in mobile technology are numerous, they can be distilled into two primary changes: faster performance and increased battery life. It has long been thought in the mobile realm that these two factors are diametrically opposed, meaning that if you wanted a powerful phone you had to suffer through limited battery life and vice versa. But with the quad-core things may finally be changing for the better as smartphones continue their inevitable journey towards usurping the personal computer.
In regards to faster performance, the quad-core processor will allow your phone to render photos, load Web pages, view video, load apps, and play mobile games better than ever before because the work to deliver all those things is now divvied up over four processors, each one working simultaneously in conjunction with the others to process data faster than every before.
It is exactly this same principle that allows the quad-core to theoretically maintain longer battery life, as each separate core is able to work less to accomplish a task and thus requires a smaller contribution from the battery to operate, as opposed to what a single or dual-core processor would require doing similar strenuous tasks.
So just how fast is fast and how strong is strong? Popular processor manufacturer Nvidia claims that its next generation Tegra 3 chip is an astounding 5 times faster than its dual-core Tegra 2 chip, and that’s nothing compared to Nvidia’s long term road map where subsequent chip iterations will see speeds increase 25, to 75, to 100 times faster than the current Tegra 2.
While the early winners in the quad-core smartphone race will likely be Android smartphones, I would hope that Apple would include such advancements in its iPhone 5—slated for release sometime in summer 2012. But never fear, soon all phones will operate on quad-cores as the mobile market continues to close the gap to our desktop computing standard.